When one is going about picking tomatoes to choose to grow the choices can be overwhelming. Cherries, beefsteaks, yellow ones, plum, grape, pear, chocolate colored, and the list goes on. You can spend a lifetime growing different varieties. If that is your mission I can give you a hand – cross the Indigo Rose variety off your list. It has to be one of the worst varieties of tomatoes I have ever grown.
Before I expound on why I don’t like this variety, let me give you a little background on it. Indigo Rose was developed at Oregon State University. Their mission is to breed tomatoes with higher levels of antioxidants. The purples and blues of the produce world are said to have high levels of antioxidants, such as the blueberry. Indigo Rose is a purple tomato.
The unique thing about this variety is that it doesn’t start out green, but it’s final purple color. This presents a challenge. How do you know when it’s ripe. Well the tomato isn’t fully purple. The underneath side is green as it’s the sunlight that causes the purple color to come out. Eventually the underside will turn red when the tomato is ripe. Problem is in order to harvest the tomatoes you have to check underneath them. Often when doing this I ended up accidentally snapping the tomato off. The purple colors turns more brownish when it ripens but you have to have a really good eye to notice that.
The plant performs relatively well considering the drought and super high temperature we experienced this summer. It held up a lot better than my Amish Paste tomatoes. I had to grow them in containers this year as I was moving half through the season.
As for the flavor, first off if you pick it before it’s ready, you will be really sorry. If not perfectly ripe this variety is taste terrible and is tough. Even when ripe, we found it to have a tough outer skin. Also the sweetness to acidic ratio of this tomato was not what my wife wanted in a cherry tomato. We decided not to use them for fresh eating , but just cook them up into sauce to add to pasta at a later point. The sauce actually came out rather nicely, so maybe all isn’t lost. But even so, Indigo Rose won’t be making a return visit to my garden.